I'm taking a much-needed quick break from the Spend Management world today and Friday to spend time with my family. It's been an intense month and a half so far in 2009. In fact, I can't think of a similar period in my lifetime where we've gone through such rapid change in both the business and consumer worlds. No longer is it en vouge to spend, at least on the homefront. I think my wife even feels guilty now about getting her nails done, let alone considering a home renovation or a purchase of a new car (and mind you, our businesses are doing fine). It's just that spending right now seems to contain a component of guilt. Over this long weekend, I intend to reflect a bit about what it will take to get our spending mojo back. And this goes for the corporate world too. Inside many companies, longer-term cost cutting and IT projects are frozen awaiting Q1 numbers (fortunately, most Spend Management projects are still full steam ahead if they can show < 12 month ROI). What do you think? Should spending feel guilty given the current environment? This type of thinking may be more damaging to the economy than the "buy American" horse manure we're hearing more and more, yet it's something I think many of us our guilty of at the moment. I know we are.
On the proverbial other hand, perhaps our reluctance to spend and the associated guilt when we do is simple conservatism. Given the unprecedented economic turmoil of the past year, no one can be certain about just how the world economy will resolve. But we can be quite sure that we are entering a new economic paradigm in which the financial world as we have known it will not be the same. Until a more clear road map evolves, perhaps it just makes good sense to conserve what we have when it comes to discretionary personal spend -- and to not confuse that with well placed business investment.
- Jason Busch